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A Fall-Time Vectorworks Design Summit—Depth Is The Difference in 2017

Attendees may have been looking for deeper learning sessions, as new agenda pointedly shows changes to the conference formula.


This year the Vectorworks Design Summit will have a slightly different setup than in the recent past. For users of the CAD/BIM platform, the Vectorworks Design Summit is an annual user conference that combines learning sessions, hands-on learning labs, keynotes, networking and social events, plus a mini partner exposition.

Baltimore In 2017—More In-Depth Training

The company has taken prior attendee training survey input and has responded with changes. In a nutshell, this year’s event will be characteristically more “in-depth.”

Key Takeaways

After tremendous growth in the Design Summit last year, Vectorworks, Inc., seems to be possibly scaling back expectations a bit—and company expenses—by hosting their user conference closer to home base. The timing this year (moved to the early fall rather than late Spring) possibly signals that the company is choosing to keep is secrets in the upcoming Vectorworks 2018 product line close it its chest. Moreover, the big move this year seems to be the focus on ROI by making sessions twice as long for deeper learning potential. 

While there will be some one-hour learning sessions, the major sessions tracks are just over 2 hours long. On each day there is a long morning track session that takes you into lunch and then a dual set of 1 hour and 2 hour session tracks in the afternoon. A small sampling of in-depth tracks include:

  • Getting Started with BIM Part 1: From 2D to 3D — by Wes Gardner
  • Cartography and Site Analysis with GIS Data — by Lance Fulton
  • Anatomy of a BIM Project — by Francois Levy

As in the past, there are sessions dedicated for the Vectorworks Industry series product lines, so there are sessions for landscape design professionals, entertainment design professionals, as well as architects and building design professionals. In other words—the conference is not just for architects who use Vectorworks.

Keynotes—And Preview of Vectorworks 2018

A major draw of attraction for the Vectorworks Design Summit is the opening keynote by its CEO. Each year the company gives attendees a confidential preview of the upcoming annual release. Due to the timing this year that preview will be right on the heals of the release itself (if their typical product release schedule hasn’t changed).

01 – The Vectorworks Design Summit returns to Baltimore, close to the company’s headquarters.

This change in schedule could be possibly taken to mean the company doesn’t want to share its upcoming new features with the whole market too far away from product launch, though this logic is less likely the real reason for the change. Nevertheless, on the first day’s morning keynote, Dr. Biplab Sarkar, Vectorworks’ CEO, will deliver a one hour talk on what is coming in Vectorworks 2018 and possibly in future versions. It’s important to note that one full hour is a lot of time to talk about software features—meaning: there is clearly a lot of new features coming to talk about or they may split some of that time to talk about other things.

Design Keynote

Like other years, the Design Summit will feature a design keynote as well. This year architect Brad Cloepfil, founding principal of Allied Works Architecture, with offices in New York City and Portland, Oregon, will be doing the design keynote. His widely acclaimed architecture practice has projects that range from cultural art museums such as National Music Centre of Canada, Calgary, to US embassy projects, to private residencies and creative workplaces.

A quick website check on Allied Works Architecture will find that the company designed a beautiful new creative workspace for Pixar Animation Studios, of Emeryville, California, an obvious second building for the award-winning film studio which Steve Jobs once owned. The Brooklyn-based building is striking on many levels and houses 900 artists and support staff and gives Pixar its east coast base.

Allied Works Architecture has also done some beautiful work on a smaller scale, like its Portland Heights Residence project (which you can see here). Working at multiple scales, practicing nationally and internationally, as well as teaching and lecturing throughout North America and Europe, Cloepfil’s design keynote looks to be an excellent opportunity and moment of inspiration for Summit attendees.

The early bird pricing for the 2017 Vectorworks Design Summit ends this month (May).


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